Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm Reportedly Unimpressed With France's New President

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Antoine Antoniol, Getty Images
    President-elect of France Francois Hollande speaks to supporters as he leaves the Socialist Party headquarters on May 7, 2012 in Paris, France. Socialist Francois Hollande defeated incumbent president and UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, with just under 52% of the vote in the second and final round of the French Presidential elections. He will be the country's first Socialist president in 17 years.

    Has anyone ever asked the president of France for his opinion of the mayor of Chicago? Probably not. Yet Rahm Emanuel is said to be unimpressed with Francois Hollande, the newly-elected French president. 

    The French newspaper Liberation is reporting that Emanuel told a reception at the French embassy that Hollande "has more of the head of a prime minister than of a president."

    According to a translation in Buzzfeed politics: 

    When French diplomats suggested that Hollande could grow into the job, Emanuel reportedly shot back with his “professional” opinion that he couldn’t imagine Hollande “grow[ing] in office.”

    *The Chicago Mayor's office tells us this is an incorrect translation and that Emanuel said that "everyone grows into the job" and that he" wishes Hollande the best of luck." 

    Emanuel may feel a kinship with defeated French president Nicolas Sarkozy, because Sarkozy had the support of the Obama Administration. Chicago magazine’s Carol Felsenthal declared the two vertically-challenged tyrants “Separated at Birth”

    Both men are pugnacious and brash, given to bullying, hot-tempered (repressed, for the time being at least, in Rahm’s case), centrist and business-friendly, tireless, hyperactive, and remarkably ambitious—even for politicians. 

    Then there’s the physical resemblance: Sarkozy, 57, and Emanuel, 52, towering egos aside, are both shorter men. Sarkozy, of bulkier build, is reported to be extremely self-conscious about his height (like Rahm, around 5’5”). Today, on the front page of the Drudge Report, was this photo of Sarkozy, riding his bike in heavy traffic, wearing a fierce expression and full-cycling regalia, sans helmet, his right hand (in knuckle-high gloves) raised as if daring auto drivers to deny him his divine right of way. (Looking at the photo I couldn’t help but think of our avid cyclist mayor on his Parlee road bike, which, the Sun-Times’ Mike Sneed reports, is “…custom fit … and costing “somewhere between $4,800 and $15,600.”) 

    Hollande will be sworn in as president on May 15, which means he will attend the NATO summit in Chicago. That will give Rahm a chance to explain, face to face, why he thinks the president is a lightweight.

    Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!